Election 2020

Spencer and I: A Halloween Story

(AP Photo/Molly Riley)

The incident occurred at about ten o’clock in the morning on Halloween, October 31, 2020. It was a beautiful day, and I was sitting on a park bench overlooking a river, enjoying the sunshine, when suddenly I had the overwhelming sense that I had been at that very spot before. At that precise moment, a young man with rather overlong hair sat down on the other end of the bench. I had wanted to be alone, and so would have gotten up and moved to another place, but I didn’t want to seem rude. Then, with more puzzlement than horror (at least at first), I noticed that he looked familiar. In fact, he looked just the way I did, thirty-six years ago.

I cleared my throat and stammered, “Pardon me, but…but…what is your name?”

He looked at me with neither interest nor recognition. “Robert Spencer,” he said. I asked him where he lived, and he told me – an apartment I had moved out of in late 1984.

“Don’t you recognize me?” I said, practically shouting. “I, too, am Robert Spencer. I am you and you are me. We are in the year 2020.”

He studied me with wariness and growing amusement. “Today is October 31, 1984. It’s only ten o’clock, old man, and you’re drunk already?”

“Show some respect,” I snapped. “I have not had a drop to drink. Here, I can prove to you it is 2020. I’ll tell you the future. In the election you’ll have next week, President Reagan will be overwhelmingly reelected.”

He wasn’t impressed. “Everyone sees that coming. Look, buddy, if you’re me in the future, tell me who’s the President in – what year did you say? – 2020.”

“Donald Trump.”

He snorted. “Come on, man!”

“No, really. Donald Trump is president. He has restored confidence in America and has been an effective president who has stood up to America’s enemies in a way that his predecessors did not. But many people see him just as a TV personality, and don’t take him seriously as a politician.”

“You’re just describing Ronald Reagan, except Reagan was a movie star before he went on TV,” he said, and looked out at the water.

I kept going. “Trump is in a reelection battle against a very weak candidate. The Democrats are running a man who was the vice president in the previous administration, which many regard as having been one of the most disastrous presidencies in American history.”

“Yeah,” he said, “Walter Mondale was Jimmy Carter’s Vice President. So far you’re still just describing 1984.”

“I don’t mean Mondale and Carter,” I said, “I mean Joe Biden and Barack Obama.”

“Biden?” He snorted again. “You’re telling me that the 2020 election is Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden? Look, here’s the deal: by 2020, Senator Biden will be long dead or comfortably retired.”

“No, he is running for president,” I continued. “And the Democrats, still playing identity politics, are running a woman for vice president.”

He smiled wryly. “Yeah, future man,” he said. “Geraldine Ferraro.”

“No, Kamala Harris,” I said, and knowing the name would mean nothing to him, I changed the subject. “Some people claim that Biden won his first debate against Trump, but the President came back strong in the second, and while a lot of polls have counted him out, many think he has a good chance to be reelected.”

The young man stood up. “Look, it’s very interesting to meet my future self, and I admit you do look something like me, although with a lot less hair and more around the middle, and that’s a very uncool tie. But all you’ve done is describe 1984 to me with different names. I guess your President Trump is going to win in a landslide.”

“It’s possible, but unlikely,” I said. “The media hates Trump with a passion, and is doing all it can to keep him from being reelected.”

“Sounds like Reagan again,” he said. “Maybe you will have your landslide. But in the meantime, you better sober up.” He fished into his jeans pocket. “Here’s a buck,” he said, and handed me a dollar – series 1981. “Buy yourself a cup of coffee.”

This time I laughed. “To get a cup of coffee now I’d need three dollars or more,” I said. But I took out my wallet and handed him a dollar bill of my own. When he saw it was series 2017, his eyes widened, and he looked at me dumbfounded.

“The next thirty-six years will be interesting, to say the least,” I said as I stood up as well and started walking. “The Cold War will end, and only long after that will the Democrats discover a threat from Russia. You’ll enjoy a system of computers that can put an extraordinary wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. And the American Left will go absolutely insane.”

“And Donald Trump will be president,” he said, as if believing it for the first time.

“Yes,” I said, “Donald Trump will be president. So you have something to look forward to. Happy Halloween.” And with an old-fashioned pre-COVID handshake, we parted.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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